Attentional biases for facial expressions in social phobia: The face-in-the-crowd paradigm

Eva Gilboa-Schechtman, Edna B. Foa, Nader Amir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examines the attentional bias hypothesis for individuals with generalised social phobia (GSPs). Socially phobic individuals were hypothesised to exhibit attentional bias towards threat stimuli relevant to interpersonal situations. This hypothesis was tested using the face-in-the-crowd paradigm. GSPs and nonanxious controls (NACs) detected an angry, happy, neutral, or disgust target face in a crowd of 12 distracter photographs. Results indicated that, compared to NACs, GSPs exhibited greater attentional biases for angry than for happy faces in a neutral crowd. GSPs were more slowed down in their performance by happy and angry versus neutral distracters; NACs did not exhibit such sensitivity to distracter type. Finally, GSPs were faster in detecting anger than disgust expressions; NACs detected both types of faces equally quickly. Implications of these findings for the maintenance of social phobia are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-318
Number of pages14
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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